Surely something similar has happened to you at least once: you photograph some rare flower in the arboretum or a delightful bouquet, and the picture does not convey even a tenth of all the beauty and grace. What is the problem and why in the photo we see something completely different from what we see in real life? You can blame the wrong angle or inappropriate lighting, a bad lens or lack of experience, but in fact there are many reasons. We have prepared a selection of tips for you — once you start putting them into practice, you will immediately notice how much better your photos of flowers and bouquets will look.
How best to shoot flowers: basic rules
- To get started, take a few minutes to inspect the object from different angles. Find the best angle to shoot from which will emphasize the advantages and hide the disadvantages of the subject. Also pay attention to the lighting and how the shadow falls.
- Take pictures from different positions and immediately compare the frames. For example, you can take a picture while standing over a flower, and then take a prone or kneeling position. Only by experience you will find the best angle.
- When choosing a position, do not cover the object with your own shadow.
- Light the flower from the back — this helps to get an interesting rainbow effect in the picture.
- Use a lens hood to avoid lens flare.
- Try to choose a background that contrasts with the subject so that the flowers do not get lost on it.
How to photograph beautiful flowers on a sunny day
Let’s find out right away — sunlight is our friend or foe? On the one hand, because of it, you may encounter a number of troubles: overexposure of the frame, glare in the lens … On the other hand, sunlight makes the picture more expressive and bright.
In sunny weather, train yourself to use a hood and a UV filter. They prevent the negative effect of natural ultraviolet radiation. If neither one nor the other was found during the shooting (or you are photographing flowers on a smartphone), you need to cover the object with something, create a soft shadow, not a deaf one, which will make it even worse.
When shooting on a SLR camera, you need to switch to manual mode, close the aperture to f / 14 — f / 18 and shorten the shutter speed (from 1/100 to 1/160 s).
Using flash to shoot at noon
For beginners, this advice may seem strange, but in reality, a flash can be very useful even in bright sunlight. Midday, it often creates a lot of harsh shadows that we don’t need. To balance the composition, you need a flash: it will soften them.
This trick works with both professional cameras and smartphones. The main thing is to switch the flash to forced firing mode, because in bright light it will definitely not turn on automatically.
Angles for beautiful photos of flowers
It all depends on the subject. If a flower grows in a flower bed or on a lawn, it is definitely impossible to shoot it strictly from above. And in general, this angle should be used with caution, as it turns out to be successful in exceptional cases. Walking in a garden or park among various plants, we look down at them — this is a familiar angle for all of us. In photographs, he will look as dull and trite as the photographs of children from above. As soon as you bend down a little or sit down on your knees, or better, lie down on the ground at all, the frame will turn out to be completely different. When you photograph flowers from these positions, you will see a non-standard approach in your pictures. Even a lonely nondescript flower, which no one would have noticed in ordinary life, can appear in a completely different form.
Try shooting at or below the bud level. For example, poppies and tulips look great when viewed from below, from the ground. This rule does not work with all colors, so experiment.
Using depth of field and blurring the background
In order for the flower not to blend into the background, control the depth of field — the so-called DOF. With this, you can separate the bouquet (or plant) from the background or even highlight one bud. To blur the background, we use the aperture: it needs to be opened by setting the minimum values (f / 1.2 or f / 4). Now focus on the desired object and release the shutter. In this case, the object will turn out to be clear and expressive, and everything else will be blurred (background or neighboring flowers).
If you are photographing on a phone or a soap dish and you can’t use the aperture, then focus on the flower and take a picture — then you will work with the background while processing the photo. To control the viewer’s attention, you must always separate the flower from the background. Otherwise, there is a risk that the photo will seem like a mess of flowers and cause dizziness and nausea.
Setting the white balance
This camera setting helps you take pictures with the right tones. How to use it, everyone decides for himself. You can make frames colder or, conversely, warmer. If the white balance is adjusted automatically, you risk not getting what you expect.
Sometimes it helps to select ready-made options for this parameter in the camera menu for sunny or cloudy weather. For example, to make the green petals of your flowers brighter and warmer, or the red rose to look more expressive, try switching modes and see the result.
With white balance, you can “play” in the graphics editor during post-processing. Sometimes it is difficult to catch the right ray of light, or clouds hide it at the most inopportune moment. In this case, you can miss an interesting frame, but adjust everything as needed during processing.
Backlight for highlighting details
When you need to emphasize such tiny details as thorns, villi on the stem or leaves, spines, or to reflect the translucency of the petals in the picture, use backlight. To get the best effect, shoot on cloudy days and choose an angle that darkens the background. If you take the risk of shooting your subject against a bright sun, the petals around the edges will turn out to be overexposed, and this will be extremely difficult to correct in post-processing.
We arm ourselves with a reflector, or how to photograph bouquets of flowers
When shooting flowers indoors, problems often arise due to inappropriate lighting. Something similar can be encountered on the street on a cloudy day. To enliven the composition, highlight it from the right side using a silver reflector. Its advantage is that the effect is noticeable even before the shutter is released. The light reflected by the reflector is soft, as sharp shadows are excluded.
It is not necessary to place the reflector very close to the object, otherwise the shadows will lighten up and look unnatural. It is very convenient to use folding round reflectors that you can take with you to the park or garden. Within the room, if you need to beautifully shoot a bouquet, the reflector can generally be replaced with thick white cardboard or a piece of plastic.
How to simulate rain to beautifully photograph flowers
The drops that have settled on the petals of flowers look incomparable. And it’s not a problem if there was no rain before your photo session. Take a hand sprayer and spray the bouquet or flowers from all sides. The water will collect into droplets that will look like real raindrops or remind you of morning dew. The main thing is not to overdo it — do not pour too much.
If you set a goal, you can pick up a small spray bottle that fits in your pocket or does not take up much space in your backpack. This way you will have a portable rain with you to shoot flowers wherever you see them. Side lighting or backlight will illuminate the drops, giving them a more aesthetic appearance.
How to remove a blooming flower
And finally, we leave a simple but very effective tip — get a compact mini tripod. When folded, it takes up minimal space and fits easily into any bag or backpack. By laying it out at the shooting location, you can create long exposure shots. If you wish, even shoot a time-lapse: for example, how the buds bloom. The main thing is that there is no wind when shooting outside.